Top Ten Tuesday – Who’s at Your Lunch Table?


Top Ten Tuesday is a popular meme hosted by the readers blog, “The Broke and the Bookish.” This week’s theme, in honor of it being ‘back to school season’ in most parts, is “Top ten book characters that would be sitting at my lunch table.” It’s an interesting list to ponder – who would be in your clique? For economy’s sake, I limited my choices to books I’ve read the past couple years. I’ve also kept it evenly distributed, gender-wise, and have a “boy-girl-boy-girl” format. I’ve also skewed my list to the relative outcasts, yet outcasts with great potential or of great inner strength. I’ve also imagined these characters as high-school aged, even if they weren’t so in the books where I met them. Here goes.


1. Diggory Venn (of Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy)
Bonus points if you recognize this name, one of the great underrated characters of classic literature. He would be a loyal table-mate and the rest of us could help him through his pining over some other girl in school that is unattainable (like he did for Thomasin Yeobright in Return of the Native)

(below: actor Steven Mackintosh as Diggory Venn (aka “The Reddleman”)  in the Hallmark Channel’s adaptation of “Return of the Native”)


2. Dellarobia Turnbow (from Barbara Kingsolver’s “Flight Behavior”)
Dellarobia would add an edginess to our table, and I also suspect I would secretly like her but be afraid to tell her. She would also be a bridge between our table and cool kids’ tables. Some the cool boys would chase after her, but she would likely not give the the time of day.
3. John Eames (from Anthony Trollope’s “The Small House at Allington”
Bonus points again if you’ve heard of this character. A quintessential, good-hearted nerd (or “hobbledehoy” as Trollope describes him), we’d welcome him to our group.
4. Nao (from Ruth Ozeki’s “A Tale for the a Time Being)
Nao and John would be a standard-bearers for the tables nerd quotient. I think Nao might occasionally bring cookies or some other treat from her Grandmother that she would share with the table. I hope she would, anyway.
5. Henry Tilney (from Jane Auaten’s Northanger Abbey”) We’ve got to have some popular kid representation at our table too. And he’s very well-read, so we’d have great discussions,
6. Cinder (from Marissa Myers’ “Lunar Chronicles”
Hey, our table is an equal opportunity table. Cyborgs are welcome too! (Although you quickly forget that she’s a cyborg when you get to know her)
7. Tyrion Lannister (from George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series)
Duh! Tyrion would make an awesome table-mate, and would I’m sure add a healthy component of mischief to our group’s activities. Plus he would keep us in stitches with his sense of humor, and I suspect he would also know how to get us alcohol on the weekends. He’s a reader too!


8. Lettie Hempstock (from Neil Gaiman’s “Ocean at the End of the Lane”)
With so many “outcasts” at our table we’re sure to encounter an occasional “attempted bullying” or two. They’d be no match for Lettie and her “powers.”
9. Tertius Lydgate (from George Eliot’s “Middlemarch” which I’m currently reading)
“Mr. Lydgate” (I suspect even in high school we might call him this) would be the one in our group thinking about the future and helping us to keep our “eyes on the prize.”
10. Juliette (from Hugh Howey’s “Wool”)
I’m sure our cell-phones and other gadgets would occasionally go on the fritz. Thankfully, Juliette could probably fix any technical problems during the space of a forty-minute lunch period. 🙂

That’s my table. What about yours? Is it all the way on the other side of the cafeteria? Do any of table-mates share some of their time at your table? Who do we have in common?



  1. Paula Cappa said,

    September 2, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Ha! What fun, Jay. For lunch, I would be chatting with Anna Karenina over a pot of Black Russian Caravan tea and black bread and jam sandwiches.


    • Jay said,

      September 4, 2014 at 12:05 pm

      I’d enjoy lunch with Anna as she was early in the book. Later in the book? I’m not so sure… 🙂


  2. September 2, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Oh my word, I was worried I won’t know any of these but then we came to Cinder and tyrion and all was good. I can’t believe I forgot about Tyrion. He’d be an awesome addition with his smarts, his mouth, and especially his mischief. Let’s say we have him and Cinder on alternate weeks? 😀
    Very diverse and noble picks!


    • bendingoverbookwards said,

      September 3, 2014 at 9:54 am

      I forgot Tyrion as well! I’d love to see him in a school setting… 🙂


      • Jay said,

        September 4, 2014 at 12:09 pm

        It’s always good to have someone in your group who’s smarter than the teachers too. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      September 4, 2014 at 12:08 pm

      Thanks! (& maybe we can just scoot our tables together so we each get both of them. 🙂


  3. Randall said,

    September 6, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t recognize any of the characters you mention here. So I’ll just come sit at your table. 🙂


    • Jay said,

      September 8, 2014 at 7:35 am

      None!? Oh my – we need to at least get you on a Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire intravenous drip stat! 🙂


      • Randall said,

        September 8, 2014 at 8:57 am

        That is definitely one of the books that is now on my TBR list. Seems like I am the only person in the universe that doesn’t know anything about the series.


        • Jay said,

          September 8, 2014 at 6:36 pm

          It’s not exactly high literature. 🙂 The HBO series is very well-produced too, if you’d rather watch than read.


  4. hkatz said,

    September 10, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    I love this idea for a post – I might do this at some point (I like how you imagined them all as high school students too). And I got good book recs out of it (one of them, Cinder, is already on my to-read list; it looks good).

    From what I remember of Lydgate, I’ll be interested in hearing about whether you’d want him at your lunch table by the book’s end 🙂 But maybe he’d still be welcome; for various reasons, he might be.


    • Jay said,

      September 13, 2014 at 7:21 am

      Hi hkatz,
      Cinder was a lot of fun. It’s the first of a series (trilogy?) too – all are very loosely based on classic fairy tales. I ended up liking the title character a lot.
      Yeah, Lydgate kinda ended up being a “pillow” of strength didn’t he. I was a little disappointed. (He’d still be allowed at our table. He just would be the first one chosen if we picked teams for anything.) 🙂


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